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Red Bull Theater Announces Selections for 11th ANNUAL SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL

Programming features world premieres from C.A. Johnson and José Rivera.

Red Bull Theater Announces Selections for 11th ANNUAL SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL

Red Bull Theater today announced the selections for The 2021 Short New Play Festival, their eleventh annual festival of 10-minute plays of heightened language and classic themes, featuring two new commissions from C.A. Johnson and José Rivera, alongside six brand new plays that have been selected from hundreds of open submissions from playwrights across the country. This year's winning playwrights are Constance Congdon, Rosslyn Cornejo, George LaVigne, David Lefkowitz, Abigail C. Onwunali, and Charlotte Rahn-Lee. This benefit event is the latest installment of Red Bull's renowned annual new play festival, an initiative that has inspired the composition of more than 3,000 new plays. The theme for this year's festival is RESTORATION. The evening will be directed by Margot Bordelon and Timothy Douglas. The Festival is produced by Nathan Winkelstein. Casting will be announced shortly.

The 2021 Short New Play Festival will premiere LIVE on Monday, July 12th (7:30pm). A recording of that livestream will be available until 7:00 PM EDT on Friday, July 16th - then it disappears.

This event is a benefit for Red Bull Theater. Tickets are "Pay What You Can." Advance reservations are recommended. If you're able, please consider making a donation with your reservation to support our online activity and our return to in-person programming. The 2021 Short New Play Festival is made possible by the leadership support of The Noël Coward Foundation.

"The Festival will be a delightful finale to our online season! This year's "Restoration" theme brought out a wonderful range of responses and creativity. The six selected plays together with our two established playwright commissions offer a wide-ranging abundance of romance, drama, tragedy, satire and farce. The plays were all written expressly for online performance, and they will be entertaining there, even as they each also brim with the theatricality made for live theater we all love so much. Join us!" said Mr. Berger.

This year's premieres will include:



by José Rivera

On a cool summer night five close teenage friends -- two Latinos, two Blacks, and one white woman -- get together in a rundown basketball court in Brooklyn to watch a total lunar eclipse.

José Rivera is a recipient of Obie Awards for Marisol and References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, both produced by The Public Theatre, NY, and seen regionally and internationally. Other plays include Cloud Tectonics (Playwrights Horizons, Humana Festival, La Jolla Playhouse), Boleros for the Disenchanted (Yale Rep, Huntington Playhouse), Sueño (Hartford Stage, Manhattan Class Company), Sonnets for an Old Century (Barrow Group), School of the Americas (Public Theatre), Massacre (Sing to Your Children) (Goodman Theatre, Rattlestick), Brainpeople (ACT/San Francisco), Adoration of the Old Woman (Sundance Theatre Lab, INTAR, La Jolla Playhouse), The House of Ramon Iglesia (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Another Word for Beauty (Goodman, New York Stage and Film), The Maids (INTAR), The Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Menier Chocolate Factory, London), Each Day Dies with Sleep (Circle Rep, Berkeley Rep). His screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries was nominated for 2005 Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar - making him the first Puerto Rican writer ever nominated for an Academy Award. His screenplay was also nominated for a BAFTA and Writers Guild Award, and received top screenwriting awards in Argentina and Spain. On the Road premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Trade was the first film to premiere at the United Nations. Rivera co-created and produced "Eerie, Indiana," (NBC) and was a consultant and writer on "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels" (Showtime) 2019. He will be head writer for the Netflix series based on One Hundred Years of Solitude. Rivera's short film "The Fall of a Sparrow" has been seen at the Big Apple Film Festival, the Official Latino Film Festival, The Chain Film Festival and many others. In 2020 he directed the world premiere workshop of his play Lovesong (Imperfect) at the 14th Street Y, produced by Planet Connections, as well as the short film "The Civet." He has served on the boards of Theatre Communication Group and The Sundance Institute and mentored at Sundance Screenwriting Labs in Utah, Jordan, and India. His most recent play Your Name Means Dream was part of the Rattlestick Playwrights Jam, 2020, and read at the Sundance Theatre Lab.


by C.A. Johnson

C. A. Johnson is a Brooklyn-based playwright originally from Metairie, Louisiana. Her plays include All The Natalie Portmans (MCC Theater), Thirst (2017 Kilroys List, CATF), The Climb (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), An American Feast (NYU Playwrights Horizons Theater School), and I Know I Know I Know. Most recently she was the Tow Playwright in Residence at MCC Theater. She was previously the 2018 P73 Playwriting Fellow, The Lark's 2016-17 Van Lier Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a member of The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm, A Core Writer at The Playwrights Center, a member of The Civilians R&D Group, a Sundance/Ucross Fellow and a 2018 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow. Her work has been developed with The Lark, PlayPenn, Luna Stage, Open Bar Theatricals, The Dennis and Victoria Ross Foundation, and The Fire This Time Festival. BA: Smith College MFA: NYU

Selected Plays:

If This Be Not A Good Play Then The Devil Is In It.

by Constance Congdon

Deep in a night of 1599, on the banks of the Thames, players from one theater, called The Theater (disassembled to escape abusive rent payments), wait for barges to carry their lumber across the river, where they will build another theater, yet to be named.

Constance Congdon has been called "one of the best playwrights our country and our language has ever produced" by playwright Tony Kushner in Kushner's introduction to her collection Tales of the Lost Formicans and Other Plays. In addition to Tales of the Lost Formicans, which has had more than 400 productions, world-wide, Congdon's plays include: Casanova, Dog Opera, both premiered by The Public Theatre, Losing Father's Body (Portland Stage - Maine), Lips (Primary Stages), Native American (Portland Stage and Lyric Hammersmith Studio), A Mother starring Olympia Dukakis, and a new verse version of The Misanthrope, both commissioned and produced by American Conservatory Theater. Her new verse version of Tartuffe is included in the Norton Anthology of Drama, and is already out in a single-volume Norton Critical edition. She's been writing a long time and can thank the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation including Bellagio, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Arnold Weissberger Award, the Berilla Kerr Award, and, most recently, The Helen Merrill Award for making this more possible. This year, Congdon was designated as a Legacy Playwright, a new award from the Dramatists Guild Fund. She also received the Lilly Award for a lifetime achievement in the theater. She's an alum of New Dramatists, member of The Dramatists Guild and PEN. Congdon has taught playwriting at the Yale School of Drama but her home has been Amherst College where she taught for 30 years. She is seeking productions for three new plays: Take Me to the River (about the water crisis in the West), Hair of the Dog (about the discovery of how Marlowe was murdered as uncovered by William Shakespeare), and Enemy Sky (about two lovers from decades ago, a Pakistani muslim man and a American old female hippie, who encounter each other again after life has created more questions than answers and a crisis might destroy what they had and make them enemies).


by Rosslyn Cornejo

A twist on the Greek myth Narcissus and Echo. What happens when you're in love with someone who only loves themself?

Rosslyn Cornejo is a University of California, Santa Barbara graduate with a BFA in Acting and a BA in History. She is currently based in Seattle, Washington. Her recent work includes her solo show In the Crosshairs with Macha Theatre Works, multiple roles in LAUNCH PAD's Alone Together, and T in 407C's Puppet Theatre with Radial Theater Project and UCSB's production of Fires in the Mirror.

The Wolf Tree

by George LaVigne

Just past the turn of the 17th century, Captain Pouch, a revolutionary leader of the Midland revolt in hiding, encounters a simple shepherdess beneath the Wolf Tree.

George LaVigne is an artist, actor, writer and English teacher who learned his stage craft from Olympia Dukakis and his playwriting from Ramon Delgado. He has worked with the NJRK, Period Productions, the Known World Players, The Chester Theater, and the Zenith Players, among others. He lives his transcendental existence in the wild hinterlands of Western New Jersey with his supportive wife and daughters, and a vast menagerie of animals. Apparently, he also refers to himself in the third person.

Restoration Playhouse

by David Lefkowitz

The artistic director and stage manager of a tiny New York theater face obstacles, post-pandemic.

David Lefkowitz is an award-winning playwright and actor whose works include Kandide (winner Lee Korf Award and produced by The Original Theater Works, L.A.), Shalom Dammit! (co-written with Rabbi Sol Solomon), The Triple Wedding, and such one-acts as Special Oed (Red Bull finalist), The Sky is Calling, Cupid in Reverse, King Solomon the Wise, and the oft-produced Blind Date. A collection of his plays, Marriage, Babies and the End of the World, was published by Holvoe Books, St. Petersburg, and his theater writing has appeared in (former managing editor), Show Business (former contributing editor), BackStage, Stagebuddy, Time Out New York, and Entertainment Weekly. Host of the long-running podcast Dave's Gone By, David has taught English and playwriting at the University of Northern Colorado and holds master's degrees in Dramatic Writing (NYU) and Theater Education (UNC). Married to gerontologist and author Joyce Weil, David has served as father to two dachshunds, two hernias, and innumerable plush potatoes. It's best not to ask.


by Abigail C. Onwunali

A modern-day short play written after the character Sidi from Wole Soyinka's The Lion and the Jewel, this play explores the complexities of what it means to chase after the "American Dream."

Abigail C. Onwunali is a Nigerian-American actor and writer, currently studying at the Yale School of Drama for her MFA in Acting. Her slam poems "Mountaintop" and "My Co-Worker" have been viewed worldwide and she has been a sacrificial poet for huge events such as the Texas Grand Slam and Slam Mania hosted by Write About Now. She wrote and directed the play In-Between Bitches which made its debut at the Yale Cabaret in 2021. Her acting credits include Charly Evon Simpson's It's not a Trip It's a Journey at the Chautauqua Theater Conservatory. The Salt Women and Swimmers at the Yale School of Drama, Is God Is at the Yale Cabaret, and Girls (Understudy) at the Yale Repertory Theatre. She is currently an acting fellow in Lena Waithe's Inaugural Hillman Grad Mentorship Program, class of 2021.

The Misanthrope Breaks His Quarantine

by Charlotte Rahn-Lee

The year is 2023. COVID is over, and everyone has left social isolation and moved on with their lives . . . everyone, that is, except Alceste.

Charlotte Rahn-Lee is a New York-based playwright. Her plays have been produced by Speranza Theatre Company in Jersey City and at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the Sam French Off-Off-Broadway short play festival. She has an MFA from the New School for Drama and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Most recently, she has worked with the Cherry Picking Festival in NYC, the Finger Lakes Photo/Plays in her hometown of Geneva, NY, and the New Cosmopolitans' New Queer Works Series. She lives in Washington Heights with her beautiful wife and amazing daughter.


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